Emily Dickinson: a reserved, but incredible poet

Hi, my name is Desirée and I’m here to talk about a great American writer, Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. For a year she attended Mount Holyoke Women’s Seminary in South Hadley.  Her poetry was influenced by the metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England. She admired the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as was John Keats. She was not publicly recognized during her lifetime. The first volume was published in 1890 and the last in 1955. She died in Amherst in 1886, aged 56. At the age of 35 she had composed more than 1100 texts where pain, joy, love, nature and art are present.  After her death, her family found forty volumes or installments, which Dickinson joined by folding and sewing about five sheets of paper. “Belknap Press” is the only volume on order. 

One of her poems that I really liked is “I Took One Draught Of Life”

I took one Draught of Life—

I’ll tell you what I paid—

Precisely an existence—

The market price, they said.

They weighed me, Dust by Dust—

They balanced Film with Film,

then handed me my Being’s worth—

A single Dram of Heaven!

Emily in this poem wants to say that she had a different experience than usual, like leaving the house, since she spent a lot of time at home and it cost her a lot, precisely an existence. Everyone told her that this was the cost of new experiences. They weighed her dust for dust, balanced film with film and gave her the value of her being, a gram of sky, that is, only the small part they knew about her.

In this text we can find metaphors, for example “a draught of life”.

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Di Leonforte Desiree


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